KATHLEEN -- The script for the fourth quarter seemed pretty clear.
It would contain lead changes and ties galore, shooting droughts, turnovers and adjustments.
After all, the quarter began with visiting Marist holding a one-point lead, which had been cut from nine at halftime.
And just like that, the script was flipped.
Kya Cochran’s 3-pointer got the Warhawks going, and they ended up cruising past Marist 47-31 on Tuesday in a GHSA girls Class AAAA quarterfinal playoff game.
“We started off slow,” senior forward Khalya Owens said. “Once we started getting into it ... the fourth quarter I think is really our quarter.”
Owens had quite the day. While teammate Carrington Kee stood at the line in the final minute to shoot free throws, the Veterans student body began singing “Happy Birthday” to Owens, whose 18th birthday ended with her team pulling away to head to the semifinals against Carrollton on Saturday at West Georgia.
“Two special occasions,” Owens said. “Just being able to play for the Final Four and having my birthday. It was a good day.”
Veterans improved to 30-1 behind a balanced attack. Cochran, Kee and Owens each had 10 points, countering the 22 points of Marist’s Dominique Oden.
Oden’s teammates managed just nine as the Warhawks stopped focusing as much on squelching Oden.
“We had played some matchup zone, we were trapping,” Veterans head coach Nicole Miranda said of a defensive change. ”We’re really good at man defense. Our defense was really good, except for that time when we lost (Oden) in the lane.”
Oden, a Purdue commitment, jumpstarted the War Eagles (23-5) in the second quarter with seven straight points, part of a 12-0 run during which Veterans went 0-for-6 from the floor and turned the ball over twice. Owens scored the lone bucket for the Warhawks, at the 3:17 mark, and they trailed 21-13 at halftime.
The Warhawks had the War Eagles right where they wanted them.
Marist turned the ball over on the first five possessions of the third quarter, yet still led 23-18 midway through. Cochran, who struggled from the floor, nailed a 3 to make it a one-possession game.
Then Janna Altman’s putback followed Cochran’s early fourth-quarter 3 to make it a multiple-possession game the rest of the way. The War Eagles went nearly six minutes without a point and were still down by 10 when they finally scored.
And the birthday serenade to Owens, one of six seniors who didn’t lose on the home court this season, came shortly thereafter.
The postgame was physical for Owens, who was chased down and tackled by her teammates for birthday spankings.
“They attacked me,” Owens said with a laugh. “I’m more bruised from them hitting me.
“But it was a good day.”